After being eliminated from the playoffs, the Chicago White Sox turned their attention to how to be better and get to the World Series in 2022. That is if there is a World Series to be played. This should be a fun time for baseball with hot stove talk getting teams and their fans excited for the upcoming season.
However, the discord between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association is rearing its ugly head again and stopping any momentum the game had heading into next season. The chances of spring training being delayed are pretty good right now unless both sides can come together on a new collective bargaining agreement by December 1.
If an agreement can not be reached at that time, a work stoppage will begin and a freeze on free agency will take place. It would mark the ninth time there has been a work stoppage and the first since the 1994-95 year which saw no World Series played.
While fans dream of who their team can pick up to fill in areas of need, owners and players are focused on trying to work out things such as revenue sharing, luxury taxes, “tanking” remedies, a universal designated hitter, and free agency eligibility. For a sport trying to grow itself, labor strife is not going to help baseball try to regain its footing as the national pastime.
The Chicago White Sox do not need to see another MLB strike ruin their season.
MLB and the Players’ Association cannot let labor issues drag to the point of postponing the start of spring training as it risks alienating an already dwindling fan base. Following labor issues from the COVID shortened 60 game season which saw both sides do battle over millions of dollars while the nation suffered through layoffs and job uncertainty, baseball must get their house in order or face the possibility of fan backlash as it did in ’94.
The MLB is officially in its free agency period. While there could be some signings that take place between now and the end of the CBA, the chances one of those includes a big-name free agent are slim as players and their agents wait to see what the fallout is from the negotiations.
What also puts the signings of big-name players on hold for a bit is the waiting game on which will be the first domino to fall that will set the market. The all-star shortstop group of Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager is the one to keep an eye on as the bidding should produce some ridiculous numbers tossed around by some very interesting suitors bidding for their services.
This week marks the general managers’ meetings which will take place in Carlsbad, California from November 9-11. While this is usually a time for teams to address off-field issues, trades could be made or at the very least the groundwork could be laid for some deals. From a White Sox perspective, fans will be waiting to see what GM Rick Hahn will do after saying last week the team can’t be “satisfied” with just winning the division.
It is a lot more fun to write about who teams should go after, how teams can improve, and what moves teams need to make to win a World Series. But labor issues remain the elephant in the room when it comes to moving the game forward and stopping talk of free agency moves and potential trades is not helping anyone who loves this game.